Amazon to resume shipping nonessential items after adding 100K new workers

Amazon to resume shipping nonessential items after adding 100K new workers
Written by:
Jayson Derrick
13th April, 23:56
  • Amazon will resume selling non-essential third-party items this week.
  • The company prioritized health and wellness items, like toilet paper at the early stages of the pandemic.
  • Amazon already hired 100,000 workers and plans on hiring 75,000 more.

Global e-commerce behemoth Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) will no longer prioritize “essential” items on its platform after hiring 100,000 employees, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Health and wellness a priority

The global coronavirus pandemic prompted Amazon to prioritize shipping what it considers to be health and wellness items, such as cleaning items and shelf-stable foods. As an example, analytics firm CommerceIQ estimates Amazon sold 186% more toilet paper than usual from Feb. 20 through March 23.

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Amazon recognized the sudden surge in demand for these important items and management made the wise decision to halt shipping of items that aren’t essential during a pandemic.

But Amazon reversed its policy after a major hiring spree at its distribution centers and delivery network in the U.S. As of this week, third-party sellers will be welcomed back to the e-commerce platform but with some limitations, sources told WSJ.

Amazon confirmed with WSJ that third-party products will be “limited by quantity” and it will still prioritize health and wellness products.

Major Job Creator

Amazon’s 100,000 new workers is consistent with a typical holiday season. But Amazon  has plans to nearly double-down by adding another 75,000 employees. Needless to say, this makes Amazon one of the biggest job creators during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company also plans on spending $500 million to increase wages which marks an uptick from its pledge to lift salaries by $350 million for workers in the U.S., Europe, and Canada.

Rival grocery and retail chains like Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and CVS Health Corp. (NYSE: CVS) have all confirmed they plan on hiring new workers by the hundreds of thousands.

Major challenges

Amazon still faces difficulties in keeping its workers, despite recent wage increases. Most notably, Amazon’s facilities need to address daily worker absentees as some people are staying home out of fears of contracting the coronavirus in a factory setting.

According to WSJ, some warehouses are actually operating at half capacity due to absenteeism. 

Meanwhile, a worker in New York was laid off for allegedly organizing a walk-out, although the company claims the worker violated company policies related to social distancing.

On its end, Amazon is taking the necessary steps to lower the likelihood of the spread of the virus, including checking workers’ temperature. In addition, Amazon already started to build a lab dedicated to testing workers for the disease.

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